‘Don’t Give Up’ is a song written by Peter Gabriel. It was originally released on his fifth studio album ‘So’ in 1986. Also released as a single from the album in October 1986. Gabriel originally wrote the song from a reference point of American roots music and he approached entertainer Dolly Parton to sing the song with him. However, Parton turned him down, so his friend Kate Bush took her place. She recorded her vocals in February 1986 at Peter Gabriel’s home studio in Ashcombe House. Peter had already recorded his vocals, so she followed his lead. After this recording, she felt she had “messed it up” and so she returned later to sing it again.


‘Don’t Give Up’ was released as a 7″ single with ‘In Your Eyes (special mix)’ on the B-side. The 12″ single featured the full length version of ‘Don’t Give Up’ plus ‘In Your Eyes (special mix)’ and ‘This is the picture’. In the USA, the B-side consisted of the edit of ‘Don’t Give Up’ and ‘Curtains’.
A promotional CD-single was also released in the USA, featuring the edit and full length versions of the track. 


There are two versions of the Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush duet ‘Don’t Give Up’: an edit for the single and the full length album version. However, Peter Gabriel released a live version of the track, sung with Paula Cole in 1993, then an all-orchestral version with Ane Brun on his 2011 album ‘New Blood’.

Music video

Two videos were created for the song. The first, directed by Godley & Creme, consisted of a single take of the singers in an embrace, as the sun enters total eclipse and re-emerges; the second, by Jim Blashfield, featured Gabriel and Bush’s faces superimposed over film of a town and its people in disrepair.


Peter Gabriel has performed ‘Don’t Give Up’ live various times, amongst others during his Secret World live tour in 1993. Kate Bush performed the song with him just once, when she was a surprise guest on Peter Gabriel’s concert on 28 June 1987 at Earl’s Court, London.

Cover versions

‘Don’t Give Up’ was covered by David Archuleta & Libbie Linton, Tina Arena & Jeff Martin, Máire Brennan & Michael McDonald, Chielie, Dr. Ringding, Nicolai Dunger & Silje Nergaard, The Feeling, Alicia Keys & Bono, Tara MacLean, Jimi Mbaye, Xavier Naidoo, Willie Nelson & Sinéad O’Connor, Shannon Noll & Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Parenthetical Girls, Pink & John Legend, Show of Hands, Tarja Turunen, Take 6, Jody Watley and The Shadows.

Critical reception

The stand-out track [of the album So] is ‘Don’t Give Up’… set against his sombre narrative comes Kate Bush’s imploring counterpoint, begging him to believe in himself the way his family and friends do. Her fragile anguished performance gives the piece almost unbearable emotional impact.

Adam Sweeting, Melody Maker, 24 May 1986


In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my name, I’ve changed my face
But no one wants you when you lose

Don’t give up
‘Cause you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not beaten yet
Don’t give up
I know you can make it good

Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we’d be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Drove the night toward my home
The place that I was born, on the lakeside
As daylight broke, I saw the earth
The trees had burned down to the ground

Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up
We don’t need much of anything
Don’t give up
‘Cause somewhere there’s a place
Where we belong

Rest your head
You worry too much
It’s going to be alright
When times get rough
You can fall back on us
Don’t give up
Please don’t give up

Got to walk out of here
I can’t take anymore
Going to stand on that bridge
Keep my eyes down below

Whatever may come
And whatever may go
That river’s flowing
That river’s flowing

Moved on to another town
Tried hard to settle down
For every job, so many men
So many men no-one needs

Don’t give up
‘Cause you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not the only one
Don’t give up
No reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up now
We’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up
You know it’s never been easy
Don’t give up
‘Cause I believe there’s a place
There’s a place where we belong


Drums, percussion: Manu Katche
Bass: Tony Levin
Guitars: David Rhodes
Piano: Richard Tee
Vocals, CMI, Prophet, Linn, piano: Peter Gabriel
Chorus CS-80: Simon Clark
Vocals: Kate Bush